Microsoft has integrated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into one of its longest-standing applications, Notepad. A Microsoft insider known as “PhantomOcean3” unveiled a ‘Cowriter' function in the Windows 11 version of Notepad, with the potential to augment writing tasks for users through features such as ‘Rewrite', ‘Make shorter', ‘Make longer', ‘Change tone', and ‘Change format'. Although currently inactive, the ‘Cowriter' feature highlights Microsoft's commitment to embedding generative AI across its suite of applications.
Generative AI Within Notepad
Generative AI refers to the technology that enables computer systems to generate content by learning from a vast set of data inputs. It can produce various outputs like text, images, and even code, depending on the training it has received. In the context of Notepad, ‘Cowriter' would assist users by enhancing or altering their writing, potentially streamlining the writing process and providing stylistic variations to text.
New Notepad feature soon™️ pic.twitter.com/yv6axwuG2e
— PhantomOcean3 ☃️ (@PhantomOfEarth) January 9, 2024
The aforementioned features mirror capabilities seen in other generative AI applications, suggesting that Microsoft might be adapting technology similar to the models that power its Bing Image Creator or the Cocreator feature in the Windows 11 Paint app, which is based on OpenAI's DALL-E AI model. The DALL-E model is notably capable of creating images from textual descriptions and has set a precedent for AI's creative capacity in consumer applications.
Rollout and Potential Reception
The trajectory for ‘Cowriter' seems likely to follow Paint's Cocreator feature, indicating that Microsoft might establish a waitlist for Windows Insider Program users to initially access the new Notepad functionality. While no official timeline has been confirmed for ‘Cowriter' becoming operational, Microsoft has a history of testing new features in this manner, setting the stage for broader launch upon successful Insider feedback and iteration.
As Microsoft advances its AI-driven initiatives, many users of Notepad, known for valuing the application's minimal and straightforward interface, may confront changes that modify the traditional writing experience. The company's mission to bring AI into mainstream productivity tools may reshape expectations and usage of seemingly simple software like Notepad. The introduction of ‘Cowriter' into a text editor as elemental as Notepad marks a significant step in Microsoft's broader push to integrate AI into every facet of the digital workspace.